Back in 1961, Maura Foley opened a cake shop in Kenmare. She didn't have a mixer, by the way, but it didn’t stop her. Later, she ran The Lime Tree restaurant. In 1991, she opened Packie's Restaurant, in the centre of town. Then, in the mid-1990s she and her husband, Tom, began to renovate and develop Shelburne Lodge, on the Cork Road, which first appeared in McKennas' Guides in 1997. Which leads us to ask: has any other Irish person had such a major impact on the food culture of an Irish town? The answer, we would say is: no. Mrs Foley's standards have set the template for Kenmare for more than half a century. Her achievement is immense: a most distinguished cook, a most distinguished hostess, a most distinguished restaurateur. And Shelburne Lodge stands as testament to all her gifts, a most beautiful house characterised by fabulous comfort and imaginative design, characterised by great cooking – the Shelburne breakfast is one of the best – characterised by spontaneous generosity. Maura Foley is a legend.
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